We’ve all had that moment where we walk into the kitchen and immediately get over powered by the smell of over-the-top-too-ripe bananas.
For me, I think a banana is past its prime at the appearance of the first brown speck. After a short window of optimal ripeness, it turns into a waiting game to find the perfect balance of too ripe, but not too too ripe. Waiting for the day that my nostrils are assaulted by their sweet tropical scent.
I’m not really sure how my first banana baking experience happened. I just remember eating warm, right out of the oven banana bran muffins as a child. It was usually a random night after dinner or maybe the occasional weekend. To the best of my memory, my dad was the one who would bake. Or maybe he was just the one who would suggest someone should bake them and then my mom would actually do it? Like I said, I’m not entirely sure how it happened.
But I know that sometime in my teenage years, the honor of baking the bran muffin was passed down to me. How and why we always had bran cereal in the house so that muffins could be made without a minutes notice is beyond me. It seems like a weird pantry staple. But it is a tradition that I have carried on to this day.
So my dad and I, equipped with all of my mom’s kitchen utensils and my grandma’s bran muffin recipe, would set to work. The teacher showing the grasshopper the ropes.
Eventually it evolved to my dad leaving notes, “Amanda, we have some over ripe bananas. Have a great day! Love, Dad” And so the honor of bran muffins was passed on.
I still use my grandma’s original recipe – even though she doesn’t ever mention a single banana in it.
In an effort to make it healthier, I have made a few changes over the years. I substitute applesauce for the oil and have found that if I leave my bananas out on the counter long enough, I don’t need any added sugar. This last time that I made them the most amazing, accidental thing happened! I had just finished mixing everything together and was preparing to fold in some almond butter swirl when I realized that we had no open almond butter. None. Not even the scrapings of the last jar. Something that until this day I would have thought impossible. By the time I had the new jar open and incorporated, my banana mixture had sat ready to go for a solid 5 minutes. These muffins were the fluffiest, softest, gooiest best banana bran muffins yet! You gotta try it!
Serves 1 muffin
10 minPrep Time
20 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
- 1 c flour (I like to use Whole Wheat - it works well with the bran)
- 1/2 c sugar (with ripe bananas you can get away with 1/4 c to none)
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-2 Tbsp whole flax seeds
- 1 1/4 c 100% Bran
- 1 c milk
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c vegetable oil (I prefer applesauce)
- 3 very ripe bananas
- 1/2 c almond butter, gently folded in
- 1/2 c raisins or other dried fruit
- 1/2 c walnuts or other nuts
- Preheat oven to 400 F and prepare your muffin tins.
- In a small bowl, pour the milk over the bran making sure that it is fully covered. Let it stand for at least 5 minutes
- In another small bowl, peel and mash bananas until most of the lumps are gone. Set aside.
- Combine first 5 ingredients and mix until evenly distributed.
- Add the egg and oil (or applesauce if using) to the bran and beat it until fully blended.
- Stir the bran mixture into the flour until combined, being careful not to over mix it. Add any optional add-ins at this point.
- Divide evenly among your muffin tins and bake about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.